YOUR CHILD STRUGGLES WITH ADHD. YOU WANT TO HELP.
However, you feel overwhelmed.
Perhaps you just don’t know where to start. After all, it seems like your child has so many needs. Alternatively, maybe you are confused by all of the advice out there. Many books, groups, websites, and professionals exist offering advice.
There are behavioral plans, medications, alternative therapies, and that’s just touching the surface. Maybe some of those things will be helpful. Eventually, you’ll figure them out. But you want to start helping your child today.
THEREFORE, HERE ARE FIVE PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP YOU BEGIN.
1) SET BOUNDARIES
All children need boundaries, especially children with ADHD. Also, setting boundaries will help you as a parent.
- IDENTIFY THE BIGGEST ISSUE: Begin with one simple boundary, so that your child can practice and succeed. You may want to begin with a boundary around the most frequent issue.For example, is bedtime always a fight in your house? Focus on bedtime boundaries. Alternatively, you might want to address issues of immediate physical concern. For example, create a “no hitting” rule, which is a boundary around physical self-protection.
- ESTABLISH REASONABLE BOUNDARIES: Consider your child’s age as well as their developmental stage.Is your child really able to focus on homework for forty-five minutes right after school? That might not be a realistic boundary for a child with ADHD, for example.
- INVOLVE CHILDREN IN SETTING BOUNDARIES: Help your child see why a boundary is necessary. Then ask for their input.For example, you set a boundary that there is no kicking the seat while you’re driving. Explain that this is because it’s dangerous since it can cause you to get into an accident. Next, ask your child if they can see a way to help you with this.Be flexible with your boundaries. For example, your child might ask, “Can I kick if I’m sitting behind the passenger seat?” You may not love the idea, but if there’s no one sitting in the passenger seat, then it might be acceptable.Also, choose a compromise. Your child might ask if you can play their music playlist when in the car. You could opt to do this if they don’t kick the seat.
2) CREATE ROUTINES
In addition to boundaries, children thrive with routines. Establish fun, easy-to-remember routines around activities all throughout the day.
For example, consider routines for:
- WAKING UP
- FAMILY TIME
- SCREEN TIME
Break the routines up into manageable tasks.
3) IDENTIFY THE POSITIVE
Identifying the positive is helpful for you and your child. There are many good things about ADHD to keep in mind.
- CREATIVE THINKING
- ENERGY AND A ZEST FOR LIFE
- ABILITY TO FOCUS ON THINGS OF INTEREST
- STRONG SENSE OF HUMOR
- A SENSE OF JUSTICE OR FAIRNESS
Focusing on the positive helps you and your child. It builds their self-esteem and helps them remember to do the good behaviors that you praise. Additionally, it reminds you of how great your kid really is.
4) USE BEHAVIORAL CHARTS
You want your child to stop negative behaviors. More than this, you want them to engage in positive actions. Behavioral charts help.
Behavioral charts allow your child to see what’s expected. They get rewarded instead of punished. They experience the joy of the reward. More importantly, they develop their self-esteem while learning good behavior.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Parenting is never easy. Parenting a child with ADHD has unique challenges. There will be hard days. You will struggle. You may experience anxiety about whether or not you’re doing things right.
The best thing that you can do for your child with ADHD is to take care of yourself. Work through your own challenges. Find a support group. Get the help that you need so that you can keep helping your child.
It can be helpful to talk through your feelings with a therapist. Contact us if you want to discuss your concerns about parenting a child with ADHD.